×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Actor Booth Colman Dies at 91

Booth Colman, who had a long career as an actor including the role of ape scientist Dr. Zaius in the 1970s “Planet of the Apes” TV series, died in his sleep on Dec. 15 in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Colman was a Shakespearean authority who essayed mostly dramatic roles. He had a gravitas that was well-used in his many performances as authority figures, such as doctors, clergymen, scientists and attorneys. Though he was never a comedian, he appeared in comedies and treasured his friendship with classic performer Stan Laurel of Laurel & Hardy. (Colman is pictured above with Lois Laurel, the daughter of Stan Laurel.)

Though he worked in film — with more than 50 bigscreen appearances — and onstage, Colman was best known for his work on television. He racked up many credits, from the early days of TV in the 1950s through 2008.

He guested, often multiple times, on series including “Gunsmoke,” “Perry Mason,” “Star Trek,” “The Waltons,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Route 66,” “The Rifleman,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Bonanza,” “Mannix,” “Marcus Welby,” “Mission: Impossible” and “The Untouchables,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Chicago Hope.”

He also appeared in TV comedies including “My Three Sons,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Monkees,” “The Flying Nun” and, later, “Frasier” and “My Name is Earl.” The actor also occasionally had recurring roles in such soap operas as “The Young and the Restless” and “General Hospital.”

Colman made his film debut in 1952’s “The Big Sky” and last appeared on the bigscreen in the Coen brothers’ 2003 “Intolerable Cruelty.” He worked on Broadway, appearing with the likes of Basil Rathbone and Fredric March, and appeared as Scrooge onstage in “A Christmas Carol” almost every year for decades.

As a young actor, Colman studied with the Maurice Evans company, with which he appeared in “Hamlet.” Eventually the association led to Booth assuming the role of Dr. Zaius, which Evans originated in two bigscreen “Planet of the Apes” films. Colman’s work on the series led to acclaim from fans as well as invitations to appear at film conventions.

Colman was born in Portland, Oregon, and he attended the University of Washington, and the U. of Michigan, where he began his career in radio. He mastered multiple languages.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Actors Fund of America, National Federation for the Blind, or United Jewish Appeal.
Friends, family and fans are invited to share memories of Colman at familyofboothcolman@gmail.com

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Sound of Metal' Review: Riz Ahmed

    Toronto Film Review: 'Sound of Metal'

    “Sound of Metal” is a film with a potent, searing hook. It stars Riz Ahmed, who is such a sensational actor (just watch him in “Jason Bourne” or “Nightcrawler” or “The Sisters Brothers”), as Ruben, a punk-metal drummer, heavy on the tattoos and peroxide, who has been thrashing away as part of a caterwauling noise [...]

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • Australian Outback

    Legend Media Seeks Trio of West Australia-China Co-Productions (EXCLUSIVE)

    Perth, Australia-based production company Legend Media is preparing a slate of three feature films to be produced with partners in China. The company styles itself as one that recognizes the opportunities for Asian engagement that have fallen to Australia, through geography, trade and culture. The company aims to make use of the bilateral film co-production [...]

  • David Goodman

    David Goodman Re-Elected President of Writers Guild of America West

    David Goodman has been convincingly re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West, beating Phyllis Nagy in a bitter contest that became a referendum on the guild’s ongoing battle with talent agents. Goodman received 4,395 votes to Nagy’s 1,282 in an election that yielded record turnout among the WGA [...]

  • Issa Rae Portrait

    Issa Rae Developing Re-Imagining of Crime Thriller 'Set It Off'

    “Insecure” star and co-creator Issa Rae is in early development on a re-imagining of New Line’s crime thriller “Set If Off,” which starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise. Rae will produce with plans to star in the project. Syreeta Singleton and Nina Gloster have been hired to pen the script. [...]

  • Thomas Golubic GMS Conference

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Film News Roundup: Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South' Bought for Awards Season Release

    In today’s film news roundup, the documentaries “Gay Chorus Deep South” and “Tread” find homes, Tobin Bell’s latest horror film completes production and Emilio Insolera joins “355.” ACQUISITIONS MTV Documentary Films has acquired “Gay Chorus Deep South” for release during the fall for awards season consideration. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, the film world premiered [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content